this position, the ground rises some 60 feet above the general level of the flat. This height, on which is Mr. Sale's house, commands the river at about one-half mile distance on both side of the entrance to Buckner's Neck. These last two crossing are the only practicable ones in Skinker's Neck.
At Dickinson's, near Mount Taliaferro, is a possible crossing, but the ground on the left bank, as well as the river, is commanded by high bluffs on the right bank.
On the Hazlewood farm there are two very good positions for crossing, one about one-fourth of a mile above and the other opposite Millbank. The landing are solid on both sides and a good firm road leads from the landing opposite Millbank to Hazlewood house. Gunboats could be made of the greatest efficiency in covering these positions, and sweeping the ground in their rear, for more than 1 mile, is almost perfectly level. The heights in the rear, along which the Port Royal road runs, are distant more than 1 1/2 miles from either of these crossings. Width of river, 500 yards.
At Port Royal there is no particular advantage of ground, but gunboats could be used very effectively from point above and below. Width of river, 500 yards.
At Camden the crossing is effectually commanded by the ground on the south side, some 100 feet higher than and within a few hundred yards of the river.
At Port Micon there are good roads on baths sides, the left bank having the advantage in command of some 20 feet. The high ground on this is more than 2 miles distant, and gunboats could be used here to considerable advantage. The river here is one-half mile wide.
Near Calet Point there is a crossing, but with no advantage of ground. Gunboats could be used effectively. High ground on this side 1 1/4 miles from river.
At Layton's there is a crossing with good roads on each side. High ground on this side 1,500 yards from river.
At Smith's the position is a very strong one. The ground, which is low on the right side, is command by high bluffs, close to the water on the left bank. The road coming down to the landing on the other side is steep, but practicable for artillery. Gunboats could also be used to some advantage here. Width of the river here is not more than one-fourth of a mile wide.
There is another crossing at Smooth's, about 1 mile above Smith's, which is also a strong one, as it possesses nearly the same natural advantages, but the river is here nearly one-half mile in width.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
CONWAY R. HOWARD,
Captain Engineers, Provisional Army of the Confederate States.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA, December 3, 1862.
Lieutenant General THOMAS J. JACKSON,
Commanding Second Corps, Army of Northern Virginia:
GENERAL: I find, from a report just received from General Pendleton, that, deducting the batteries in the general reserve artillery, composed of Colonel Cutt's and Major Nelson's battalions, and consisting of six companies, which are for general service, that there are one hundred